Losing sleep over bedbugs

"As cases of bedbugs have been confirmed all over the Northeast, fear of bedbugs at Oswego State has increased.

""I don’t think there’s ever been a case of bedbugs [on campus]," Jean Grant, director of Student Health Services, said. "There’s concern about it, but it never pans out. Usually there’s another explanation."

""We had one case last year," said Rick Kolenda, director of Residence Life and Housing.

"Rumors have spread of cases in Cayuga Hall and other dorms on campus, but Kolenda denies the rumors.

""We have no confirmed any cases this year," Kolenda said. "It has not been epidemic."

"Despite this, worry of bedbugs is still spreading.

""Once it hits the media, there’s always concern," Grant said.

"Bedbugs, although annoying, do not spread disease or illness.

""They don’t pose any health hazard for humans," Grant said. "They don’t use a person as a host."

"Bedbugs spread with luggage, clothing and pillows, Grant said. They cannot be spread from skin to skin or person to person like other similar pests.

"They are, however, difficult to get rid of, especially in a residence hall. The temperature in a room infested with bedbugs must be raised to at least 113 degrees, said Grant. This may not be fully possible in a student’s room.

"Infected clothing and bedding must also be washed in hot water. Regular insecticides cannot be used to kill bedbugs because it can cause poisoning when used on an area where a person sleeps.

""We have a protocol that we follow," Kolenda said, in the event that a case is confirmed. If students suspect they have bedbugs, their rooms will be inspected immediately, he said. The infected mattress will be thrown away, and students will be advised to thoroughly wash their clothing and sheets in hot water. An exterminator will also be brought in to sterilize the room.

"Kolenda said the mattresses on campus are laundered every year and inspected for bugs over the summer.

""It’s not with any of our equipment in [the rooms]," he said, adding that bedbugs are usually brought onto campus by someone who already has them.

"Students and staff at Oswego State hope that cases will not become as common as they are on other campuses in the Northeast this year.

""We’re going to keep our fingers crossed," said Grant.